Composed by Vice Staff
New Balance is a classic shoe brand, and its history attests to its timeless quality. Founded in 1906 as “New Balance Arch Support Company”, the original purpose of the brand was to focus on orthopedic shoes with specialized arch supports. (The famous adcore shoe everything makes sense now.) The company expanded into athletic shoes in the late 1930s, creating its first running shoe for a local running club, and quickly became hugely popular in the shoe industry. sportswear, eventually expanding its footwear for other sports. Fast forward to today, where you can spot the kicks on Timothée Chalamet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Pine and Rihannaas well as European fashion influencers and, of course, ICT Tac. Our fathers, our pizza delivery man, the local librarian and our bodega man all wear them, and so do we. And for good reason: the designs are basic and versatile, but their retro look and sporty appeal matches any yarn you choose.
Nike, Adidas, hoka– they’re all great – but New Balance also deserves to bask in the spotlight, and they’re supremely rocking when it comes to unisex sneakers. With men’s and women’s sizes listed on every product page, nearly every style is designed to suit all genders. But there are so many New Balance sneakers out there, it can be hard to know which ones are your perfect match; after all, do you want them for serious running, having a smoothie or wearing to a Turnstile show? There’s a lid for every jar and a New Balance shoe for every purpose, so enjoy our ranking and overview of the best New Balance shoes, from the Fresh Foam More v3 to the 327, and beyond.
This style is almost always sold out (and is still on the New Balance website), but we managed to find it in stock because we have ~skills~ in the art of shopping. The 550 channels our downtown chic with its sleek white leather look. It’s an homage to ’90s professional basketball players, streetwear and “made for players who know authenticity” according to its product description. It looks like us.
It is one of the brand’s best-known and best-selling styles. The 574 gives us a taste of our dad’s wardrobe without overdoing it, just the way we like it. It has a slight wedge platform (for boys, we’ll call it a “lift”) on the heel, a wide silhouette, and is made of 50% recycled materials. These sneakers run smaller according to reviews, so be sure to size up.
If you’re looking for a versatile shoe, these are your guys. Slip them on for a jog or just strolling around town, as their breathable mesh helps keep odors at bay and the built-in Ortholite insert (think Dr. Scholl’s) provides all-day support. “As a retired podiatrist, this has been my favorite shoe for 20 years!” writes a review on the New Balance website.
Another style that screams “zaddy” in the best possible way is the 993 Core. It absorbs shock with its cushioned sole and compression resistance so your heels don’t hurt, making these bad boys ideal for running errands or racking up miles during a workout. (This model has also been around for over 75 years, so you know they’re doing something right.)
Cool Moss Plus v3
These shoes are a top choice for serious and casual distance runners. The midsole features “Fresh Foam” technology – which is the springy, voluptuous sole – with supreme cushioning, and is designed for a light ride so you can glide through your runs. New Balance’s Fresh Foam styles are your best bet if you heel strike while running, and can help reduce your risk of injuries such as shin splints. A critic on NewBalance website even calls this shoe a “Hoka killer” – although we’re not so sure.
Roav of fresh foam
Here’s another running favorite for the joggers among us. Similar to the More v3 model, this one features the brand’s bouncy and comfortable Ultra Heel to provide a secure fit while you run. We appreciate the support, as do the reviewers on NewBalance website. “Best shoe on the market,” wrote one. “This shoe is so dope.”
This style has a 70s vibe that we’ve been dying to add to our wardrobe and pair it with our varsity jackets and single-stitched band tees. Retro treads and graphic outlines make it ideal for livening up business, street or sportswear with a touch of nostalgia. The lug outsole is also inspired by the 355 trail shoe.
We also like the blue color scheme option on the 327 Unisex. “Vibrant sky with natural indigo” is her exact description of the color – swaggy, but not too loud to pair with more understated workwear.
The CT302 is another gender neutral hit with some country club spice. These shoes look like Adidas Stan Smith and Veja had a baby, with their mix of preppy and sporty appeal. This is a timeless tennis shoe that has great wearability and a style that lives on and off the court. Additionally, she has a thic footbed for epic comfort, too.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to tap your feet.
Rec Room staff independently curated all items featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations and great deals? Subscribe to our newsletter.